KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – The biggest basketball invitational in the Miami Valley returns to Kettering this weekend after a year hiatus. 

Flyin’ to the Hoop was canceled last year due to COVID-19. While organizers are hoping for a good crowd and a boost to local businesses this year, they’re also taking precautions to keep people safe. 

“I think everybody is ‘Jones-in’ to get out and enjoy some basketball and get back to some traditions,” said Eric Horstman, president and founder of Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop. 

Flyin’ to the Hoop is in its 19th year and takes place at Trent Arena at Kettering Fairmont High School. Games start Friday night and take place all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The showcase brings together 34 top-ranked teams from all over Ohio and the U.S., as well as one team from across the pond. 

“We have our very first team ever coming from Finland,” said Horstman. 

For an event that typically sees 20,000 fans over the course of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, organizers said they’re taking precautions. There will be sanitization stations throughout the arena and staff will be masked up. They highly encourage fans to wear masks as well, but they’re not required.

Big crowds also translate into a lot of money for the local economy, with people eating, getting gas, and staying in hotels. 

“The Marriott downtown which is our partner, is very happy that we are back,” said Horstman. “We’ve had Fricker’s here forever. I know they are very excited about it. We push a lot of the folks and the fans to Fricker’s afterwards and they have their wings and their beer.”

Carmel’s nearby on Shroyer Road in Dayton is also hoping to see some of those fans. 

“Well we always want to be part of the community,” said Carmel’s owner, Bob Byers. “We always had families coming in, the locals would refer us to families from out of town so we’ve always had a nice little crowd.”

According to the Dayton Convention and Visitors Bureau, Flyin’ to the Hoop is estimated to have a $1.9 million economic impact. 

“We’re looking forward to the crowds coming to Kettering. That’s what it’s all about,” said Byers. “I think this event holds a special place in Dayton’s heart now. I mean, we’re 19 years strong, and we look to continue to do it for the long haul,” said Horstman. 

Tickets are $10 for Friday, and $20 for the other days. You can still buy tickets online, or you can buy them at the gate, but it’s cash only. Organizers suggest getting tickets sooner rather than later because once they’re sold out, they’re gone.